The Last of Us: how the video game based TV show has captured viewers’ attention

HBO’s new series, The Last of Us, has captured viewers’ attention in recent weeks. An adaptation of the popular video game by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us is bringing the storyline of the game and its characters to life in a different medium, for non-gamers and gamers alike.

Do viewers know that The Last of Us is adapted from a video game?

Despite the series sharing a name with the video game and closely following its storyline, two in five (40%) viewers are unaware that the series The Last of Us was born out of a video game. Among people who have  heard of the series (but may not necessarily watch it), only a quarter (26%) know that it is adapted from a video game.

For Last of Us gamers, the show is exceeding expectations.

So far, The Last of Us is succeeding at doing the video game justice. Nearly 6 in 10 (57%) of those who have played The Last of Us have seen the show. And over half of gamers (56%) who have played the video game and are watching the series, say that the series is exceeding expectations. Two in five (43%) say the series is meeting their expectations. Only 1% of Last of Us gamers say it is not meeting their expectations.

“I think it one of the best TV adaptations of a video game that I’ve ever seen so far.” – Last of Us Gamer

For gamers, the show’s faithfulness to the source material successfully brings the storyline to an entirely new medium.

“It seems to be a pretty faithful adaptation from what I’ve seen.  Some of the scenes are literally lifted word for word from the game.  It also does take some slight liberties too..” Last of Us Gamer

“I was optimistic and I still feel like its exceeded my expectations; Neil has done a great job expanding the story and the world for tv.”Last of Us Gamer

A roller coaster of emotions and relatable characters captivate the audience.

Three in five (62%) Americans have at least heard of The Last of Us series. And the show is especially popular among younger audiences, with one in five (18%) Gen Z-ers and a quarter (24%) of Millennials watching the show. So, what has made this show so popular?

Open-ended feedback has shown that the TV show is engaging viewers emotionally:

“Ran through all of my emotions in just the first 3 episodes.   Sad, happy, mad, terrified, relieved, anxious.  My goodness gracious, I literally felt every emotion!  When a show or movie and can make me go from happy to sad, brave to fearful in just one episode!  I am hooked!”Last of Us Viewer

And despite an apocalyptic storyline having been done before, the show’s characters make it stand out:

“It is an interesting show. The post-apocalyptic era is something I have seen many times but this show is better than most because the characters in it are usually people we can care about.” Last of Us Viewer

Written by Grace Miller, Senior Research Analyst of Opinium US.